MONTREAL - Former NHL star Vincent Damphousse is "shocked" and "traumatized" at being dragged through the justice system in an alleged case of conjugal violence, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Damphousse and his estranged wife, Allana Henderson, appear headed for separate trials on charges of assaulting one another.
Lawyers for both accused—as well as Henderson herself—appeared briefly in court for what amounted to date settings in the cross-complaint case.
Damphousse, 43, faces six counts of assault against his wife, stemming from incidents that allegedly occurred between 2008 and early 2011.
Henderson, 40, faces one count each of theft and assault with a weapon, with the alleged offences having occurred last March 29.
Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Damphousse has previously denied all charges against him and a statement earlier this year indicated the charges against him are tied to divorce proceedings between the former couple.
His lawyer, Michel Dorval, said his client, a longtime NHL star, is overwhelmed at being thrust into the justice system.
"He is shocked by what happened basically,'' Dorval said outside the courtroom. ''To find himself in the accused (box) is somewhat of a surprise for him."
Damphousse is under an order from the bench to be present at his next court date in the fall.
Dorval said his client is currently focusing on his two children.
"Now he's going to be able to spend most of the summer with them without having this over his head," the lawyer said.
The couple are trying to keep their sons safe from public scrutiny.
"These are two good parents who love their children who are going through a difficult episode and we hope that it can resolve itself somehow other than in the courts," Dorval said.
Henderson returns to court on Sept. 27, while Damphousse will be required to be present on Oct. 11.
If neither side backs down, it appears the cases are headed towards trials.
Caroline Paquin, the Crown prosecutor in the case where Henderson is accused, warned that the earliest a trial would proceed is late 2012.
The Crown prosecutor in the case where Damphousse is charged, Steeve Lariviere, isn't sure when his case will go to trial.
"It's a little early to say when we'll get there," Lariviere said.
Damphousse, a former Montreal Canadiens captain, also played for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks during an 18-year NHL career that ended following the 2003-04 season.
In 1,378 NHL games, he scored 432 goals and amassed 1,205 points.
In 2007, Damphousse began to devote more time to his business venture, Le Scandinave Spa, which he co-founded. He is also co-owner.
Damphousse and Henderson were also very active in the community and had been known for their charity work for people living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.